Perceptions of Australian physiotherapy students about the potential implementation of physiotherapist prescribing in Australia: a national survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • Macquarie University


OBJECTIVES: To explore the perceptions of Australian physiotherapy students about (1) the potential implementation and use of non-medical prescribing by physiotherapists in Australia and (2) how physiotherapist prescribing might impact the care that the physiotherapy profession can provide in the future.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional descriptive survey of physiotherapy students across Australia was completed using an online questionnaire developed by subject-experts and pretested (n=10) for internal consistency. A hyperlink to the questionnaire was emailed to all students enrolled in any accredited, entry-level Australian university physiotherapy programme. A reminder email was sent 4 weeks later.

SETTING: Participants completed an online questionnaire.

PARTICIPANTS: 526 physiotherapy students from universities across all states with entry-level programmes.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Quantitative data underwent primary descriptive analysis. Thematic analysis was used to synthesise qualitative data.

RESULTS: 87% of participants supported the introduction of physiotherapist prescribing in Australia. 91% of participants stated that they would train to prescribe following introduction. Participants identified improvements in clinical and cost effectiveness, timely access to appropriate prescription medicines and optimisation of quality healthcare as key drivers for the introduction.

CONCLUSIONS: Student physiotherapists support the introduction of physiotherapist prescribing in Australia, reporting potential benefits for patients, health services and the physiotherapy profession. Stakeholders should use the results of this study in conjunction with supporting literature to inform future decisions regarding physiotherapist prescribing in Australia.

Bibliographic note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2018. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere026327
JournalBMJ open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2019


  • Australia, non-medical prescribing, perceptions, physiotherapy, questionnaire, students, survey, views